Demand for housing is projected to spur the construction of 60.5 million new housing units in 2016, an increase of 3.5% per annum, according to a new report from the Freedonia Group Inc.

Ongoing rural-to-urban migration and increases in the number of households in developing countries will spur construction of new housing units through 2016. Such urbanization and household formation will generate particularly strong demand for housing in the Asia-Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions. The Asia-Pacific region will account for 62% of the world’s new housing units in 2016, with the Africa/Mideast region comprising an additional 20% of the world total.

The strongest annual growth in construction is expected to be in industrialized countries that had depressed housing markets in 2011. For most of these countries, the impressive growth rates will still leave the 2016 level of construction below that of a decade earlier, prior to the global financial crisis and resulting recession. In the U.S., for example, although new housing construction will advance over 18% per year to 1.5 million units in 2016, this figure will represent only 70% of the construction activity in 2006. Western Europe will also experience robust growth in new housing construction over the forecast period that will be roughly two-thirds of the level in 2006.

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